Blackdog are preparing to ship the first batch of their personal Linux servers, beginning in September.
The devices look pretty awesome. They appear to be normal USB memory sticks, until you look closely. First off - biometric authentication, so no one but you uses the stick. Second, the sticks have a 400MHz PowerPC chip built in - that's a slow version of the chip used in current Apple Powerbooks. Third, preloaded onto the stick is a version of Linux that contains almost everything you need for a working OS.
How does it work? Plug the drive into the PC. The OS starts up, grabs control of the keyboard, mouse and display from the Windows PC and then tunes into Linux. Use it for however long you want, then pull it back out again - and be back in Windows.
The concept looks absolutely awesome, but we're going to hold fire on a verdict until we've actually seen one working.
It's creators, however, appear pretty confident in its success - they're offering a $50,000 prize to whoever comes up with the best application for the stick. The software the stick runs on is open source and a full SDK is included.
In terms of RAM configurations, the machine has 64MB of RAM, and comes with either 256MB or 512MB of storage for the OS and your apps and files. The former is $199, the latter $239.
Blackdog claims that this redefines our thoughts of a computer. They're not wrong there! If you would be willing to make the switch to Linux, you could conceivably carry your most important apps and files with you anywhere, able to use 'your' PC in any net cafe or at any friend's house.
We'll be trying to get our hands on one of these as soon as possible, but in the meantime, check out the website at ProjectBlackDog.com
and comment in our forum here